I had a lovely, artsy, creative, relaxing time drawing the bottom design for this quote yesterday evening and this morning. It’s kind of a throwback to when I started drawing this kind of intricate art before I started doing all the work for colouring books, where the images have to be a fair bit less complex.
Unipin pens from Uniball, along with a blue-grey coloured pencil and a blender pencil from Derwent were the tools I used to create this.
I didn’t hand-letter the quote; I chose to use Serif’s Affinity Designer to add it instead, though I’ve not worked out how to get the text to follow a curve…yet. I will.
The quote is something I try to apply in my life. I’ve struggled with being a hyper-perfectionist all my life; learning to accept that something I produce is ‘good enough’ is something that is easier for me, though still not easy.
I cringe when I look back on earlier work.
Recently, I was approached by a lovely lady about using some old artwork of mine for her business branding logos and so on. I looked at it and knew I just had to re-work it; I recognised that my skills and style have developed and evolved a little, and I wanted to do the best I could now.
She seems to be really happy with the artwork, and I’m much happier with it too.
It’s not just in art that these words have meaning though.
It’s no secret that I am working in therapy (EMDR) at healing what I can from the CPTSD I’ve experienced all my life, especially the way it limits my life. Learning to accept that I’m good enough as a person is very difficult. Progress is slow, but it is progress.
This year, in my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales, I’m giving (at the moment!) four anti-stigma talks to various organisations this week.
The aim of the Time to Change Wales campaign is to help to bring about an end to the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health. In my anti-stigma talk, I talk about the campaign and tell my own story of my mental health issues.
It’s not a secret, I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (cptsd) that has resulted from constant trauma from emotional neglect, emotional and mental abuse from a very young age and that persisted throughout my life until the past two or three years.
EMDR therapy with a fabulous therapist is really helping me and my mental health is so much better than it used to be.
If I help just one person through my talks, then it’s a worthwhile exercise.
For myself, it’s helping me to ‘own’ my own story and to not minimise the effect the traumas of my life have had on me, on the way I think about myself, about how I behave to avoid triggers or more trauma, and to begin to live a healthier more rewarding life.
Art is not only how I make a living now, but it is also my therapy, my way of helping myself when I’m anxious or depressed or stressed. It helps me to find my balance again, even if temporarily.
I tried four or five times to create this quote illustration using traditional media this morning. I failed each time; they just weren’t right at all. I’m still really anxious/stressed from the debacle of a car breakdown at the weekend. Once my stress hormones are elevated, it takes a goodly while for them to leach away. It takes a good while for this to happen as I’m much more susceptible to being startled or becoming even more anxious. I know from past experience that eventually things will return to a less stressful level.
So, in frustration, I turned to my trusted trinity of Surface book, surface pen and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and created this one.
I’m learning how to set up pens in Sketchbook pro, and finally have one that mimics a roundhand nib. My hand-lettering is still a bit wonky, but I finally have something I like.
The background was made using traditional media by myself – distress inks on mixed media paper, scanned in to the ‘puter so I can make use of them.
Drawing on the surface is almost like drawing on paper, but without the eraser mess.
I do need to create more backgrounds for me to use now I’ve got my head around doing that.
I chose this piece of wisdom for #wednesdaywisdom because it is relevant to myself at the moment and the healing I’m going through in my EMDR therapy. I’m sure, however, that it is relevant to many, many people.
On another note, it’s #wipwednesday over in the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I keep saying it, but they’re a lovely bunch of people, friendly, supportive and appreciative of each other. Why not pop along, join up and say hello?
This is a little bit of a different blog post from me.
As I’ve mentioned before, I experience CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder), which presents itself in many ways, including anxiety, depression, and a low self-esteem.
I’ve had lots of counselling over the past eight years or so, and for the last two and a half years I’ve had a lovely therapist who specialises in EMDR therapy. It’s taken a long while for me to get to the point where I believe that such a gentle kind of therapy works, and works for me. It’s still a slow process…but progress is being made. A major change in employment nearly a year ago seriously helped with that.
Last week, my counsellor suggested I read a book called ‘Tapping In’ by Laurel Parnell. In the book, Laurel Parnell describes how the process of bilateral stimulation by means of tapping the knees or outer thighs can be used to reinforce a safe place, helpful guardians and other tools to help during both therapy and everyday life. My own therapist has successfully used it to reduce anxiety during a dental appointment as well as aiding in sleep.
She suggested I read the book and we do some work on the resources I need before continuing with EMDR as the last few sessions have left me rather upset, fragile, and, unsually for me, unable to find my ‘safe place’ at the end of a session, so that I can leave the fragile and upset state behind.
So, yesterday we worked on my safe place, with me coming up with a new one and ‘tapping in’ the contentment, peace and safety I feel when I imagine myself there. The bilateral stimulation from alternating taps to the outer knees, helps to reinforce the feeling of the place, and actually helps to intensify it.
I have no problem imagining places I can go to in my imagination; I’ve used guided meditations over the years for various purposes. When it comes to me coming up with my own imaginary places, it never ceases to surprise me what these places are like!
The other thing that was suggested after I’d verbally described my place, was to spend time over the week drawing/painting/creating images of this place, as well as practicing the process of tapping in my safe place and using it to help me manage my current high anxiety levels. (My anxiety intensified greatly yesterday, not as a result of counselling, but by the decision to hold a ‘snap general election’ and my worries about what is happening in this country, in the world, which then gets transferred to worrying about finances as I’m now self-employed, and so on and the constant chatter of anxiety winds itself up if I’m not careful).
Me being me, I get to it almost straight away…starting with these mandalas
“My mandalas were cryptograms concerning the state of the self which was presented to me anew each day…I guarded them like precious pearls….It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation. ” – Carl Jung
So, I started with some abstract, intuitive mandalas to try to express the feelings I have when I think of my safe place, when I remember the feelings I have when I’m there.
Next, I wanted to draw some kind of representation of a view from one of the windows of my place. And this is what I came up with, though the view changes all the time!
Yes, I know water isn’t yellow, but in my inner world it can be! It also shimmers with gold and has lots of shining gold and blue ‘dots’ in it. Lots of happy creatures and colours there, all entertaining me … diverting my attention away from my anxiety.
Yes, I use art to help me manage my mental health. When anxious, doing art helps me become less so; when depressed, art lifts my mood. I’m sure the inner critic chatters away even when I’m ‘arting’, but the art takes my attention so the critic’s voice can be ignored.
Oh, before I drew anything, I took time to write a clear description of my safe place, as words are how I build up mind images.
I’m looking forward to ‘tapping in’ help for creativity, amongst other things… I’m also looking to intuitively drawing and creating some more of the living things that I can see from my safe place – all friendly and protective of course, nothing scary allowed there! Which suits my tendency to rather whimsical, cutesy, artistic style.
So, I’ve shared a little of my ‘safe place’, but I’m keeping a lot of details to myself – no offence, but I don’t want any gate crashers there!